The trend draws wisdom from different domains, like mindfulness, positive psychology and the Danish custom of hygge, but “it’s being presented in a way that’s engaging and keeps it fresh,” said Eric B. Loucks, an associate professor of epidemiology, behavioral and social sciences, and medicine at Brown University and the director of the college’s Mindfulness Center.
Dr. Loucks’s research and his recent book, “The Mindful College Student,” illustrate how mindfulness can decrease stress and symptoms of depression, and improve sleep quality and physical activity levels. “Romanticizing your life” intersects with mindfulness, he added, partly by helping us turn out to be more in tune with ourselves.
“If we’re attempting to construct a life that makes us blissful, and put ourselves in the middle of it in a sort way, well, each of us are different,” he said. “Which methods resonate most? That’s self-awareness.”
Intertwined in the web conversation about “romanticizing your life” is the “most important character” trend — videos with the hashtag have generated 6.9 billion views on TikTok, followed by its sibling, “most important character energy.”
The most important character meme spawned quite a few parodies poking fun at movie clichés and narcissism. It’s “a fun solution to bring to light a few of the cringey things people romanticize,” Ms. Ward said. But “being the most important character” has also turn out to be a sincere reminder to let your actions drive the narrative, very like a movie’s protagonist would.
In Ms. Ward’s TikTok video, the camera is positioned high above, peering down on the beach where she reclines on a towel. The overhead shot conveys that she is the most important character, and the simplicity of the imagery allows her earnest voice-over to take center stage.
“You may have to start out romanticizing your life,” the narration begins. “You may have to start out considering of yourself because the most important character. Because in the event you don’t, life will proceed to pass you by. And all of the little things that make it so beautiful will proceed to go unnoticed. So take a second, and go searching, and realize that it’s a blessing so that you can be here immediately.”